Friday, June 3, 2011

OPEN LETTER TO THE NEW ZAMFARA STATE GOVERNOR

Dear (Hon) Alhaji Abdul’Aziz Yari,

I wish to start by congratulating you for winning the 2011 gubernatorial elections. I am sure, it was very challenging. Your success is a testimony that Zamfara people for different reasons wanted a change. There are many expectations, some genuine, some ridiculous. There are people who feel that the State was in the hands of some cabals and needed to be saved from them. There are people who feel that they have been marginalised and want to be involved. There are people who feel that the out-going PDP government is too stingy and longed for the return of father-Christmas.

I have decided to write you through this medium because it is the only sure medium that you will know and other people will bear us witness. As an indigene of the State, I have the responsibility of advising you because I am a stakeholder. You may or may not be aware of the article I wrote entitled The Stakes in Zamfara State which was published by many newspapers (including this paper) in July 2009 and the subsequent debates that ensured. Early this year Hajiya Bilkisu Aminu published another article which she titled the Tragedy of Zamfara Politics. She raised some important issues which are fundamental and I agreed with all the issues raised.

It is unfortunate that the intellectual movement for the rebirth of Zamfara State which I thought Zamfara academics will spearhead was not as successful as expected. I made efforts to reach as many academics as possible, but the idea of having academics into politics still seem very strange to some colleagues. Some of us rather lament and watch things happen because they lost all hope for reform. Very few bought the idea, and so the idea is not dead. I and other indigenes of Zamfara, some academics and non academics are still keen on seeing that our precious State is back on course. This moment is another beginning for the State; a new government is in place.

Although some of us ask whether your government will really make any difference from those that ruled the State in the last twelve years, yet, we should be optimistic and give you the benefit of the doubt. This notwithstanding, we must raise some of our fears and fundamental questions and later express our expectations.

There are people who feel that you do not really have the capacity to govern the state considering your past antecedents in the National Assembly, which and this gives way to fears that some people from the background will be doing the governance and you will be doing the show. This fear is critical and not baseless. However, I am sure you can prove these sceptics wrong.

Another fear from some people is that your first year will be devoted to ‘politics’ or so they said your mentor. Although some sources claimed that you promised to give the state a new lease of life even at the risk of head on collision with your political mentor. Yet the fundamental question here is how can you insolate yourself from the negative influences of your mentor(s) in order to fulfil your mandate?

Our expectations are many. I am sure your transition committee must have done some groundwork on the state of affairs in the State, by now you must come to face the reality of the enormous problems facing the State. To be honest and blunt, your Excellency knows that the State is backward and lost focus. Zamfara records low in all indices of development, just as it is last alphabetically, so it is in development in Nigeria. Therefore, the task ahead of you is daunting; it requires courage, honesty and dedication.

I cannot say everything in this small article, but I feel you should pay attention to the following. First agriculture, it is the most important resource of the State, by improving agriculture (I do not mean just giving farmers fertilizers), the people of the State will be prosperous. Education must receive attention and action. Zamfara is backward educationally; its primary education up to tertiary is in shambles. You must be serious on education by providing funds and ensuring that the funds are used accordingly. Remember Zamfara State has no State library, what a shame.

You should pay a lot of attention to rural development. It is sad to see the abject poverty in rural Zamfara, a younger brother of mine who is a historian describes rural Zamfara as “a past in our present, when you visit rural Zamfara you will feel like travelling back in time to the period of the Jihad”. Sir, this is unacceptable. Rural areas need roads, schools, portable water and health facilities and services. If you are focused you can transform rural Zamfara within four years as late Abubakar Rimi transformed rural Kano.

Your government in collaboration with other elected officials must also work hard to ensure that Zamfara people are placed appropriately in all Federal ministries and agencies. We do not fill our quota.

You also have the task of doing a lot of re-orientation of the civil services and the general public to face the stark realities facing the State. Leadership is about making a difference to the life of the led. Do not spend too much time and energy on negative politics, be focused, set goals and targets and pay attention to meeting your set goals and target. Politics will bore you a blind child as Hausa people said.

Lastly but not all, be cautious in your appointments. Do not appoint people just because they supported ANPP, Zamfara State belongs to all Zamfara people not ANPP supporters. You must appoint credible and capable people in all positions so that they can help you achieve your goals and targets. You must also have the guts to question and remove anyone whose actions go contrary to your mandate. I pray, Allah will help you and your tenure be a new positive turning point in the politics of the State.

Dr Yusuf Adamu is an Associate Professor of Geography at the Bayero University Kano.yusufadamu2000@yahoo.com

1 comment:

student duniya said...

Good Post..My we think of this...
Student Duniya

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Kano, Kano, Nigeria
Dr. Yusuf M. Adamu is a Professor of Medical Geography at the Bayero University Kano. He is a bilingual novelist, a poet, and writes for children. He is interested in photography and run a photo blog (www.hausa.aminus3.com) All the blogs he run are largely for his hobbies and not his academic interests. Hope you enjoy the blogs.